Kotoko Release Details

One of the reasons for my Shinya Tsukamoto season is the fact that Third Window Films are releasing three of Tsukamoto’s films next month. Earlier this week I gave the details surrounding the rather excellent looking re-release of two of Tsukamoto’s earliest and most critically acclaimed films, Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, which comes in a two disc set with brilliant extras. The third film to get a release is Tsukamoto’s latest, Kotoko which got its world premiere at last year’s Venice Film Festival where it won the Orizzonti award for full-length films, the only Japanese Film to ever win the ‘Best Film’ award in the Orrizonti of the Venice Film Festival. Here are the details:

 

KOTOKO
Kotoko DVD Case

 

A film by Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo, Snake of June, Vital)

Out on DVD October 8th, 2012

Continue reading “Kotoko Release Details”

Insight into the Universe, Vampire, Key of Life, Like Someone in Love Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart

Maharu from Steins;GateThis week I previewed the BFI London Film Festival and detailed some of the movies I will be seeing. I also started my Shinya Tsukamoto Season which is ahead of digitally re-mastered re-release of Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo: Body Hammer. I then celebrated my birthday by being stuck in work all day and I banged my head on a museum exhibit (I did get lots of cards and two cakes and I talked all day to a Chinese girl about Kanji/Hanzi) before I reviewed Tetsuo: The Iron Man and was stunned at the brilliant use of cinematic technique and imagination in Tsukamoto’s landmark film. If you consider yourself a cinephile get this movie!

What changes have happened with the Japanese movie box office charts?

  1. Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope
  2. Rurouni Kenshin
  3. Dear
  4. The Avengers
  5. Prometheus
  6. Safe House
  7. Dreams for Sale
  8. Akko-chan: The Movie
  9. Intouchables
  10. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  11. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts

The massively popular Bayside Shakedown series has released its final movie and it has taken the top spot. It was released last week alongside the critically acclaimed (okay, the Japan Times gave it an excellent write-up) Dreams for Sale (soon to be seen at the London Film Festival) which has taken the number seven spot. Rurouni Kenshin drops into second place in its third week while Dear, with all its star power, climbs up to three. The Wolf Children Rain and Snow and Umizaru 4 hold on at ten and eleven after earning insane amounts of money.

What Japanese films are getting released today?

Insight into the Universe               Insight into the Universe Movie Poster                                                             

Japanese Title: 天地 明察

Romaji: Tenchi Meisatsu (Tenchi: The Samurai Astronomer)

Release Date:  15th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 141 mins.

Director: Yojiro Takita

Writer: Tow Ubukata (Novel), Masato Kato, Yojiro Takita (Script)

Starring: Junichi Okada, Ennosuke Ichikawa, Aoi Miyazaki, Ryuta Sato, Koshiro Matsumoto

An adaptation of Tow Ubukata’s novel about a samurai who makes a calendar… Sounds boring unless you have a thing for maths/physics but since Tow Ubukata is the man behind Mardock Scramble and Le Chevalier D’Eon, the latter is a supernatural take on European history and is pretty good (I’m four episodes from the end). Also of interest is the crew behind the film including the director Yojiro Takita who directed the brilliant Departures (his early career is littered with awful sounding pink films) with a cast that includes Junichi Okada of the J-pop idol group V6 and lead in Tokyo Tower and From Up on Poppy Hill, with the main female role played by Aoi Miyazaki who starred in Eureka which I still need to watch… Music comes from Joe Hisaishi who has worked on many of Studio Ghibli’s films and produced the magnificent OST’s for Takeshi Kitano’s films!

Yasui Santetsu (Okada) is the son of a samurai class family known for its prowess at the board game go but he is a rebel and would rather solve math puzzles and observe the sky at night! He has many friends with who share his enthusiasms including Seki Takakazu (Ichikawa), math instructor Murase Gieki (Sato) and his sister En (Miyazaki). When a clan lord named Hoshina Masayuki (Matsumoto) appoints him to an expedition to map Japan using the North Star as a guide he discovers that the current calendar does not accurately predict the eclipse of the moon and it may not be keeping time as well as believed.

 

Vampire                                                                     Vampire Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ヴァンパイア

Romaji: Vampaia

Release Date:  15th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Shunji Iwai

Writer: Shunji Iwai

Starring: Yū Aoi,Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Adelaide Clemens, Travor Morgan, Amanda Plummer, Kristin Kreuk, Rachael Leigh Cook

The beautiful and talented Yū Aoi is back with Shunji Iwai who gave her her big break in his 2001 film All About Lily Chou-Chou (a beautiful OST and emotionally draining). Since then she has starred in Hula Girls, Tekkon Kinkreet and Rurouni Kenshin. She is surrounded by a diverse cast in terms of experience – Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction), Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) and Adelaida Clemens (soon to be seen in the forthcoming Silent Hill Revelation 3D). It sounds a lot like George A. Romero’s Martin mixed with Lily Chou-Chou. This is Iwai’s English language debut and it premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where, according to Wildground, it received harsh reviews.

Simon (Zegers) is a high school biology teacher and a serial killer who preys on suicidal girls who are drawn to him and let him feast on their blood. To find the girls he searches for are on suicide websites and he portrays himself as an equally suicidal chap who will perform double-suicide with them but he has no intention of ending his own life and so he carries on with his evil escapades. But the police are tracking him.

 

 

Key of Life                                                        Key of Life Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 鍵 泥棒 の メソッ

Romaji: Kagi Dorobou no Meoddo

Release Date:  15th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Kenji Uchida

Writer: Kenji Uchida

Starring: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryoko Hirosue, YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoko Moriguchi

Key of Life is one of the films I will see at the BFI London Film Festival and I am so excited at the prospect of seeing this comedy primarily because ofthe all-star cast which includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Masato Sakai (Sky High, The Samurai that Night), Ryoko Hirosue (Depatures), YosiYosi Arakawa (Fine, Totally FineQuirky Guys & Girls), and Yoko Moriguchi (Casshern).

 

Sakurai (Kondo) is an aspiring but unsuccessful actor who has recently attempted suicide but is unsuccessful at that. He decides to head to a local bathhouse to ease his suffering and whilst there he witnesses a stranger in the neighbourhood named Kondo (Kagawa) who slips and knocks himself unconscious. Sakurai takes advantage of this and helps himself to Kondo’s locker key. He loots Kondo’s belongings and assumes his identity which is a pretty bad idea considering that Kondo is an assassin working for a yakuza. For his part Kondo wakes up in hospital minus his memory and so assumes Sakurai’s life as an actor but applies his dedicated nature to the craft while trying to recover his memory.

 

Like Someone in Love                                       Like Someone in Love Poster

Japanese Title: ライク サムワン イン ラブ

Romaji: Raiku Samuwan In Rabu

Release Date: 15th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Writer: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Denden, Ryo Kase

The film was released in Cannes where it met so-so reviews. The cast includes Rin Takanashi who starred in Goth: Love of Death, Denden who stars in Cold Fish and Himizu and Ryo Kase who is in  SPEC: The Movie which is hanging on in the Japanese charts. Kiarostami has previously won big at Cannes by taking the Palme d’Or for Taste of Cherry in 1997.

A young female student named Akiko (Rin Takanashi) works as a prostitute to pay off her univeisty fees. One of her clients is an elderly academic (Tadashi Okuno) who is fond of her. Soon a relationship develops between the two.

Continue reading “Insight into the Universe, Vampire, Key of Life, Like Someone in Love Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office Chart”

Tetsuo: The Iron Man 鉄男 (1989)

Tetsuo Metal Fetishist Header

Tetsuo: The Iron Man                     Tetsuo DVDBluRay Cover    

Japanese Title鉄男 Tetsuo

Romaji: Tetsuo

UK Release Date: 08th October, 2012

UK Distribution Label: Third Window Films

Original Japanese Release Date: 01st July 1989

Running Time: 67 mins.

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto                                                                       Tetsuo Japanese Poster

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto

Starring: Tomorowo Taguchi, Kei Fujiwara, Shinya Tsukamoto, Renji Ishibashi, Nobu Kanaoka, Naomasa Musaka

When I first watched this I was left stunned. I had no idea what I had just watched but it left me marked. Tetsuo: the Iron Man is considered one of the defining titles in the ‘body horror’ movement and a cyberpunk classic. While it may have been shot in black and white 16mm, the creative force in this film is near overwhelming and totally absorbing and it is easy to see why this became an international cult hit and why many hail this as a classic. Now, thanks to Third Window Films, we get to see why this is so highly regarded in a DVD package which is of brilliant quality.

Continue reading “Tetsuo: The Iron Man 鉄男 (1989)”

TETSUO: THE IRON MAN and TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER Release Details

Third Window Films are all set to release three Shinya Tsukamoto films next month. The first two major titles are Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer. These are genuine cyberpunk classics which showcase Tsukamoto’s creativity, dark imagination, and energy. The really exciting thing for cinephiles is the fact that this package comes complete with some of Tsukamoto’s earliest works and with a high definition transfer supervised by the man himself. Here is the information:

 

TETSUO: THE IRON MAN
TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER

Tetsuo DVDBluRay Cover

A film by Shinya Tsukamoto (Kotoko, Snake of June, Vital)
Out on DVD October 8th, 2012

Two of the most talked-about Japanese cult films of all time makes their way onto a double-disc blu-ray set for the first time in the world with a brand new high definition transfer supervised by Shinya Tsukamoto!
TETSUO: THE IRON MAN
Tetsuo Metal Fetishist

A strange man known only as the “metal fetishist”, who seems to have an insane compulsion to stick scrap metal into his body, is hit and possibly killed by a Japanese “salaryman”, out for a drive with his girlfriend. The salaryman then notices that he is being slowly overtaken by some kind of disease that is turning his body into scrap metal, and that his nemesis is not in fact dead but is somehow masterminding and guiding his rage and frustration-fueled transformation.

TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER
Tetsuo 2

More of a companion piece to Tetsuo: The Iron Man than a sequel, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer sees Tsukamoto’s disturbing vision of a world populated by man-machines explode into a stunning colour interpretation.

For a taste of the madness, here is the trailer.

This 2 disc blu-ray and DVD set will include a brand new exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto as well as the first English-subtitled release in the world of his 45 minute pre-Tetsuo student film ‘The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy’ which has also been remastered.

The release will feature both a slipcase as well as a reversible sleeve so fans can choose whether they’d rather have an image from Tetsuo I or II on the front of their box.

 Tetsuo Reversible Cover

Tetsuo: The Iron Man – Japan / 1989 / 67 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / B&W / 16mm

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer – Japan / 1992 / 83 minutes / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 16mm

DVD/BLU-RAY Special Features:

New High Definition Transfer supervised by Shinya Tsukamoto
Exclusive interview with Shinya Tsukamoto
‘The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy’ – Shinya Tsukamoto’s early film
New UK Trailer
Japanese Theatrical Trailers for both Tetsuo I & II

Shinya Tsukamoto Season

Last year I spent all of September reviewing films from my favourite filmmaker, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I had a great time because Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a genius! Since then I have embarked on two Sion Sono seasons. Now, I am embarking on another one. Yes, dear reader here is another season with another strange season banner!

Shinya Tsukamoto Season Banner Image

Shinya Tsukamoto. He is one of those directors who actually uses the medium of film to make something interesting, challenging and intelligent. And bloody scary. I would compare him to David Cronenberg as he has created stories in a horrid metropolis which threatens to crush characters. Stories involving broken sexual fetishists, the transformative power of dark psychological impulses and body horror and general nightmare situations that see him pull out the rotten weaknesses of the human psyche and inventively displays them. As well as being a director, he is also an actor who frequently appears in his own films and those of others.

Shinya Tsukamoto, Director of Nightmare DetectiveBorn in Tokyo on the 01st of January, 1960, Tsukamoto began his career as a filmmaker as a teenager, making Super-8 films ranging in length and topic.

His nascent film career was put on hold when he would enrol in the Fine Arts Department of Nihon University. He graduated in 1982 and took up a career in advertising before he started the experimental Kaiju Theatre Group in 1986 which included Kei Fujiwara, Nobu Kanaoka, and Tomorowo Taguchi who would go on to work with Tsukamoto on a number of his films as well as make notable films of their own. During their time together they made a production called The Adventures of Electric Rod Boy which inspired them to turn it into Super-8 film. This sci-fi tale involved a boy who has a pylon sprouting from his back who battles cyborg vampires. This human/machine mix would next see life again in Tetsuo: The Iron Man in 1988 which was a production shot on 16mm in black and white and involving his Kaiju confederates. This film became a cult classic around the world and is considered an example of Japanese cyber-punk.

Tsukamoto would follow this up with the more mainstream horror Hiruko the Goblin in 1990 which involved a chap hunting a demon from hell who stole his girlfriend’s head. Then, in 1992, came his update of Tetsuo, which goes under the name Tetsuo II: Body Hammer. This one had a bigger budget and was shot in colour on 35mm. Tsukamoto went back to something far more normal in 1995 with Tokyo Fist which is the story of a meek salaryman and a disturbed boxer, two ex-childhood friends linked by a traumatic incident, who battle over the salaryman’s wife.

Bullet BalletIn 1998 he filmed Bullet Ballet, a psychological noir about a man who becomes obsessed with the idea of committing suicide in the same way his girlfriend did by acquiring a gun but this puts him in conflict with a gang. Gemini (1999) was an adaptation of a Edogawa Rampo story about a country doctor who meets his doppelganger and finds his life stolen by him, his amnesiac criminal wife falling under the doppelganger’s power and the doctor himself is rendered powerless to do anything.

A Snake of June (2002) involves another love triangle where a woman played by Asuka Kurosawa is blackmailed into performing sex acts in public against her husband’s will until he begins to take an interest in it. Amnesia and a love triangle emerges again with his 2004 film Vital which involved Tadanobu Asano’s amnesiac medical student getting to grips with a girl who likes him as he opens up his memories of his ex-girlfriend.

He would venture into more commercial territory again with the horror thriller Nightmare Detective in 2007 which involved Ryuhei Matsuda’s dream explorer hunting a serial killer Tsukamoto in Nightmare Detectivenamed “0” who also has the same ability but uses it for evil.  There was a sequel made in 2008 but Tsukamoto would return to the title that made his name with Tetsuo: The Bullet Man in 2010, his first film in English and one that is almost identical to Tetsuo II. On the 8th of September, 2011 he premiered Kotoko at the Venice Film Festival, a psychological drama about a single mother pushed to emotional extremes by her body and mind who risks losing her child as her emotions threaten to destroy her.

This season comes ahead of the release of Kotoko and the re-release of Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer on Blu-Ray and DVD Third Window Films. During this season I will also review Vital, A Snake of June, and Tokyo Fist. Last year I reviewed Nightmare Detective as my Halloween film.

Without further ado, let the season begin!

Tsukamoto Season Sub Banner

Japanese Films at the 56th BFI London Film Festival

Hyouka Genkina hito BFI LFF 56

Last year I started writing about film festivals – I think Venice was the first because I was following a film named Himizu. The British Film Institute’s London Film Festival is a popular post that still gets views today. This year I decided to try and increase my coverage and even take part in a festival. The 56th London Film Festival will be the first major one I will visit. It takes place from the 10th until the 21st of October and the line-up of films is spectacular. There are some great titles like Nameless Gangster, Rust and Bone, and Antiviral. There is also a strong selection of Japanese films, some of which have been at other festivals and others which have already been released in Japan. I have already written about all but one of them. They all look exciting. As for my own picks they are The Wolf Children, Key of Life, and For Love’s Sake. Very happy titles amidst the darkness. Check out Alua’s post for more information on other titles worth checking out. Maybe I’ll see you there?

What films are at the festival then?

 

Dreams for Sale                                   Dreams for Sale Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 夢 売る ふたり

Romaji: Yume Uru Futari

Running Time: 137 mins.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Writer: Miwa Nishikawa

Starring: Takako Matsu, Sadao Abe, Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tamae Ando, Yuka Ebara,  Tsurube Shoufukutei, Tae Kimrua, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yusuke Iseya,

This film has appeared in two posts on this blog already – Toronto Film Festival and a new entry in the Japanese film charts. It is far darker comedy than I am used to seeing from Japan and this twisted relationship comedy looks deliciously immoral.  The principal cast are lead by Takako Matsu (9 Souls, Confessions, April Story), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, After Life), Sawa Suzuki (Loft), Tae Kimura (My House, Kaidan, Starfish Hotel, Infection), and Tamae Ando (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Phone Call to the Bar). I wish I could have seen this one

 

When Kanya (Abe) and Satoko (Matsu) celebrate the fifth anniversary of their restaurant they had no idea it would end with the place burning down. This disaster forces Satoko to take on a job at a noodle shop while Kanya gets depressed and does what most movie men do in such a situation: drink and gamble. Then, one night, he returns home with cash and claims he got it by spending time with a lonely woman.  Satoko is initially angry but then realises the full potential of the scame and so the two embark on a series of sham relationships to get money together to re-open their restaurant. Surely it wont go that smoothly?

 

For Love’s Sake              Ai to Makoto Film Festival

Japanese Title: 愛 と 誠

Romaji: Ai to Makoto

Running Time: 134 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takayuki Takuma (script), Ikki Kajiwara (manga)

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Takumi Saito, Sakura Ando, Ito Ono, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kimiko Yo, Ken Maeda, Yo Hitoto

This will be the final film I see in the festival and I am expecting this to be highly entertaining because it is directed by Takashi Miike. I hate musicals but Miike made The Happiness of the Katakuris which I loved. Tony Rayns, a highly experienced Japanese film expert states, “you can only gasp in disbelief at Miike’s inventiveness: performances, design, choice of golden-oldie hits and fight choreography are all beyond ace.”  Sounds awesome! Anyway Miike reunite with Emi Takei and Takumi Saito (13 Assassins) two stars from his previous film, Ace Attorney. It also stars Satoshi Tsumabuki (Villain) and Sakura Ando (Love Exposure). Takashi Miike’s live-action film adaptation of Ai to Makoto is the fourth so far, the previous three being made in 1974, 75, and 76.

High school student Makoto Taiga (Tsumabuki) is an ultra-delinquent who has arrived in Tokyo to avenge an incident from his past. That will have to wait as he falls in love with the angelic Ai (Takei) who comes from a respectable family. Things will get complicated as Iwashimizu (Saito) is in love with Ai while Gamuko (Ando) has feelings for Makoto.

 

 Helter Skelter                                            Helter Skelter Poster

Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta

Running Time: 127 mins.

Director: Mika Nanigawa

Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)  

Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai

Mika Ninagawa is an art/fashion photographer who made her directorial debut with the gorgeous Sakuran. This is her second film and it is based on Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga set in fashion industry. It was the Grand Winner of the 2004 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. Arisa Kaneko is the screen writer adapting the story and she has written the scripts for films like Train Man: Densha Otoko and Welcome Home, Hayabusa. Just a look at the Helter Skelter Erika Sawajiritrailer and pictures of the film reveals that it will be visually spectacular! It stars the incredibly gorgeous Erika Sawajiri (Ghost Train) who is also visually spectacular and who I like very much. As an actress. Ahem. This was one of my initial festival choices but I opted to view For Love’s Sake so I had the rest of the day free and I could do other cultural things. That and ending the festival on this note seemed a bit wrong.

 

 Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.

Key of Life                                                          Key of Life Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 鍵 泥棒 の メソッ

Romaji: Kagi Dorobou no Meoddo

Running Time: 128 mins.

Director: Kenji Uchida

Writer: Kenji Uchida

Starring: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryoko Hirosue, YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoko Moriguchi

This film gets a glowing write up from Tony Rayns who describes it as “deliciously funny, not to mention brilliantly timed and acted with relish by the all-star cast.”  Some of that cast includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Masato Sakai (Sky High, The Samurai that Night), Ryoko Hirosue (Departures), YosiYosi Arakawa (Fine, Totally Fine, Quirky Guys & Girls), and Yoko Moriguchi (Casshern). I was sold on this from the cast and the trailer and so I will be watching this at the festival.

 

Sakurai (Kondo) is an aspiring but unsuccessful actor who has recently attempted suicide but is unsuccessful at that. He decides to head to a local bathhouse to ease his suffering and whilst there he witnesses a stranger in the neighbourhood named Kondo (Kagawa) who slips and knocks himself unconscious. Sakurai takes advantage of this and helps himself to Kondo’s locker key. He loots Kondo’s belongings and assumes his identity which is a pretty bad idea considering that Kondo is an assassin working for a yakuza. For his part Kondo wakes up in hospital minus his memory and so assumes Sakurai’s life as an actor but applies his dedicated nature to the craft while trying to recover his memory. 

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 56th BFI London Film Festival”

Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope, Blazing Famiglia, Dreams for Sale Trailers and the Japanese Movie Box Office

This week I enjoyed seeing Doctor Who back in his new series and the Paralympic Games butHyoka Nichijou Pictures I did not watch too many films… I am watching the anime Le Chevalier D’Eon andI also have plans for a season dedicated to a Japanese director (more on that next week)… Indeed, the only Japanese film activity I have taken done this week is furiously posting about the Japanese Films at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, and furiously planning my trip to the BFI London Film Festival (post tomorrow – here is Alua’s post about the event at Otherwhere). I also posted about the cool anime Kyousogiga and Annoying Dragon interrogating me. Blogging style. It was fun! Enough about me.

What is happening with the Japanese movie box office?

  1. Rurouni Kenshin
  2. The Avengers
  3. Prometheus
  4. Dear
  5. Akko-chan: The Movie
  6. The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
  7. Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
  8. Intouchables
  9. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  10. Ushijima the Loan Shark 

Akko-chan the movie, one of the Japanese films released last week enters the chart at number five. Rurouni Kenshin remains at the top spot. Indeed, the top three remain unchanged from last week. Umizaru and The Wolf Children are still raking in cash while another new entry, the French film Intouchables enters just above them.

There is an interesting selection of Japanese films released today.

Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final New Hope                      Bayside Shakedown The Final New Hope Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 踊る 大捜査線 新た なる 希望

Romaji: Odoru Daisosasen The Final Arata Naru Kibo

Release Date:  07th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 126 mins.

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro

Writer: Ryoichi Kimizuka

Starring: Yuji Oda, Eri Fukatsu, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yusuke Santamaria, Shingo Kotori, Shun Oguri, Kotaro Koizumi, Yuki Uchida, Atsushi Ito

This latest entry in the Bayside Shakedown series was released yesterday. This is a popular franchise running since the 90’s – when I first visited Asia movie sites like Kung Fu Cult Cinema back in the early 2000’s, this was a familiar title. This latest one is apparently the final entry in the franchise and it stars Yuji Oda who has been in numerous entries franchise, Eri Fukatsu (Villain, Space Travellers), Yusuke Santamaria (Doppelganger), and Shun Oguri (Ghost Train, Space Brothers). The trailer looks like fun.

Shunsaku Aoshima (Oda) and the team have to unravel a case of kidnap/murder which takes place an International Environmental Summit which may involve a member of the police organisation.

 

Blazing Famiglia                          Blazing Famiglia Movie Trailer

Romaji: Bakugyaku Famiglia

Japanese Title: 莫逆家族 バグギャクファミーリア

Release Date: 08th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri

Writer: Hiroshi Tanaka (manga)

Starring: Yoshimi Tokui, Kento Hayashi, Sadao Abe, Tetsuji Tamayama, Tatsuya Nakamura, Jun Murakami, Hirofumi Arai, Nao Omori, Arata, Kazuki Kitamura, Mitsuko Baisho

This film is an adaptation of Hiroshi Tanaka’s manga. It stars a whole bunch of popular actors who I keep writing about including Kento Hayashi (Ushijima the Loan Shark), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, Maiko haaaan!!!, After Life), Tetsuji Tamayama (Who’s Camus Anyway?, Elevator to the Gallows, Norwegian Wood), Hirofumi Arai (A Road Stained Crimson), Arata (The Millennial Rapture) and Jun Murakami (Himizu, The Land of Hope). I really need to review After Life and Who’s Camus Anyway?

Tetsu Hino (Tokui) once led a teenage motorcycle gang which struck fear in the Kanto area. He is now a father struggling to provide for his family including his teenage son Shuhei (Hayashi) who is now following a rebellious path. When Tetsu is contacted by his old biker gang it is because the daughter of one of them was assaulted by an old rival named Igarashi (Murakami). Tetsu finds himself drawn back into his old life-style.

 

Dreams for Sale                                   Dreams for Sale Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 夢 売る ふたり

Romaji: Yume Uru Futari

Release Date:  08th September 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 137 mins.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takako Matsu, Sadao Abe, Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tamae Ando, Yuka Ebara,  Tsurube Shoufukutei, Tae Kimrua, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yusuke Iseya,

This film is at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival and from the review that the Japan Times gives it looks pretty good. The cast includes Teruyuki Kagawa (Tokyo Sonata), Takako Matsu (9 Souls, Confessions, April Story), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, After Life), Sawa Suzuki (Loft), Tae Kimura (My House, Kaidan, Starfish Hotel, Infection), and Tamae Ando (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Phone Call to the Bar).

 

When Kanya (Abe) and Satoko (Matsu) celebrate the fifth anniversary of their restaurant they had no idea it would end with the place burning down. This disaster forces Satoko to take on a job at a noodle shop while Kanya gets depressed and does what most movie men do in such a situation: drink and gamble. Then, one night, he returns home with cash and claims he got it by spending time with a lonely woman.  Satoko is initially angry but then realises the full potential of the scame and so the two embark on a series of sham relationships to get money together to re-open their restaurant. Surely it wont go that smoothly?

Ihara and Yakusho in RetributionUnfortunately before I posted this my computer suffered a major software fault. Right now I am running on a slightly older back-up which means I have had to do a bit of tinkering to restore settings/programs. I was able to retrieve my files and get things back up and running but this does not leave me feeling terribly confident. I am going to have to get a new computer and another portable hard drive. If I go dark for a spell, you know why. Fingers crossed, this is just a hiccup.

Blogger Interrogation Game Answers

Hyouka Reading ImagesWhen Annoying Dragon over at Everworld tagged me for the Blogger Interrogation Game I was a bit surprised. I’ve taken part in 7×7 and Liebster and even Book Tag but I have never heard of the Blogger Interrogation Game. Sounds scary but it involves anime and books so I am more than game because those are two of the most important things in my life and they are pretty important to Annoying Dragon so I think we’ll get along charmingly. Thank you for putting me in such a scary situation, Annoying Dragon

Here are the rules:

  • Each person is supposed to follow the rule of fives. You are allowed to ask 5 questions, after which you can tag up to 5 bloggers by hyper-linking to their blog; 5 questions because it’s not too many to flood another blogger and occupy too much of his/her time, but yet a large enough number to ask your most important questions, and 5 bloggers to avoid spamming. Hence, prioritize your questions, and who you wish to ask!
  • Those tagged are obliged to answer the questions in a blog post, and after which, they are entitled to create their own 5 questions and tag 5 other bloggers, so on and so forth. You should answer your own 5 questions as well. You are allowed to tag the person that tagged you in the first place. Also, copy and paste this section on your blog so others can understand how the game goes.
  • In the case where a blogger strongly refuses to answer a question, he/she must instead post a nice anime image, wallpaper or cosplay picture, et cetera in response to that question.
  • To make things interesting, a blogger can include wildcards in his/her 5 questions by placing an asterisk, (*), after which those tagged are obliged to reveal something interesting about themselves that others did not previously know. There is no limit to the number of asterisks one can place (which means there can be up to 5 wildcard questions).
  • Anyone can feel free to start the game; you don’t necessarily need someone to tag you. Just create your 5 questions and tag your 5 people of choice. However, the catch is that you must answer your own 5 questions as well.
  • To potentially prevent an endless game, this round of games will end on the 8th September 2012, 12pm JST (GMT +9). After which, no more bloggers can tag others to answer their questions.

Alas, I was awfully busy this week and so the deadline is too close for me to tag others and I follow movie bloggers with only a few anibloggers. That said I will answer Everworld’s questions and post cool anime images.

QUESTIONS:

1) If you could pick a book/anime to have with you on a desert island, what would it be?

Wait a second… How long are we going to be stuck on this desert island? Please say a couple of days! Anyway I would pick Kino’s Journey for my anime because I can, and have, watched it repeatedly. I still discover new things in the anime and I love the art/music of the show.As far as books go I would either pick Murakami’s After Dark or David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film or Kim Newmans Nightmare Movies. I can read those a lot.

2) What book/anime universe would you like to live in?

I would like to live in the world of Kino’s Journey. It is set in a mittel-European like setting Kino (キノ) and Hermes and their Optionsand it is made up of a patchwork of lands which have different features – one kingdom can be a futuristic place while the next one over could be Edwardian or Victorian. Life is deceptively simple and if you want a change, just jump on a motorrad and ride off over a hill and through a field of red flowers. I would probably end up working in the same type of place I work now but the possibility of escape and change on a daily basis is always there and the idea of going on a journey of self-discovery is kind of cool. Just make sure you have your persuader.

3) Who is your fictional soulmate?

Patlabor the movieNoa Izumi from Production I.G.’s Patlabor franchise. I love Patlabor. It’s the one mecha anime I really enjoy watching. Part of it is down to the realistic portrayal of the uses of giant robots, another part is the down to earth but charming characters. Noa is good-natured, perky and a red-head. We are both good natured but she is much more out-going than I am which I like. I think we would complement each other well as I am a bit more reserved and a thinker and she would push me into doing things while I could support her… I’m thinking about this a little too deeply but I genuinely like her as a anime character and a person. I was tempted to put Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell in here but I think Noa is more my level since we have a similar morning routine. I said that before in the book tag post but it still rings true.

4) Why do you like anime and what are some aspects of anime that you could do without?

I love the imagination in anime and the ideas. The medium is so stylish and when it is coupled with the slick animation, great character designs and the different but interesting stories and characters that western animation houses and television shows would never dare touch it makes the whole medium interesting. I love the aesthetics whether it is the exaggerated facial features and worlds or the way that a story can progress and I love the way we get a glimpse into Japanese culture.

We’re quite fortunate in the U.K. in the sense that the distributors here do get quite a few interesting titles. The one title I really wanted to see get a release in the U.K. and didn’t expect for it to happen was Mawaru Penguindrum and that was recently confirmed for release some time next year – that was a major surprise and a welcome one. I assumed it was too different to get a release but much like The Tatami Galaxy and The House of Five Leaves, the distributor Kaze is taking a risk on it. The only anime I can think of would be Mōryō no Hako which is the sequel to the story, The Summer of Ubume which I have the book of. I would like to wrap the two together.

I hate fan service and ecchi.

5) And because I am really curious and sometimes a bit strange, what’s your favourite food?

I like Chinese/Asian food. I have recently enjoyed Singapore fried rice and sweet and sour chicken. That and cheesecake. Can’t beat cheesecake especially when my mother and sister make it.

I would like to thank Everworld for tagging me. It was fun.

Japanese Films at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival LogoThe Toronto International Film Festival is about to launch soon and the number and quality of Japanese films is ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT! Forget Venice, London, Berlin and Cannes. I wish I were living in Toronto! While there are a few titles that were screened at the Venice Film Festival, there are even more which are premieres and have yet to be released in Japan. They are all interesting. Whether you want the number one Japanese movie box office smash (Thermae Romae), a forthcoming drama involving otaku and sex (The Cowards Who Look to the Sky) or Yakuza tearing chunks out of each other (Outrage Beyond), it is all here.

Here is the line-up!

The Cowards Who Looked to the SkyThe Cowards Who Looked to the Sky Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ふがいない 僕 は 空 を 見た

Romaji: Fugainai Boku wa Sora wo Mita

Release Date: 17th November 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 142

Director: Yuki Tanada

Writer: Kosuke Mukai, Misumi Kubo (Novel)

Starring: Tomoko Tabata, Kento Nagayama, Masataka Kubota, Mieko Harada, Takahiro Miura

Otaku have proven fertile ground for but when I read more of the plot it sounded quite miserable. I haven’t read the original novel by Misumi Kubo but judging by the trailer, emotions are running very high! It stars the beautiful Tomoko Tabata (Blood and Bones, The Hidden Blade), the handsome Kento Nagayama (Crime or Punishment?!?), the young Masataka Kubota (13 Assassins), Takahiro Miura (Tokyo Playboy Club), and Mieko Harada (Helter Skelter).

Anzu (Tabata) is a depressed housewife who lives with a nagging mother-in-law and indifferent husband. When she attends an anime convention in cosplay she meets Takumi (Nagayama). The two start an affair at Anzu’s home. At this point, those already in Takumi’s life go through emotional upheaval of their own as a classmate confesses her love for him and his friend Fukuda (Kubota) finds himself at the mercy of a loan shark who has come to collect his mother’s debts. This is just the start of the emotional turmoil for all characters involved.

 

Dreams for SaleDreams for Sale Movie Poster

Japanese Title: 夢 売る ふたり

Romaji: Yume Uru Futari

Screening Dates: Monday, 10th September, 6:30 P.M. – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, Wednesday 12th September 2:00 P.M. – Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2, Sunday 16th September 2:45 P.M. – Scotiabank 3

Running Time: 137 mins.

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takako Matsu, Sadao Abe, Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tamae Ando, Yuka Ebara,  Tsurube Shoufukutei, Tae Kimrua, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yusuke Iseya,

The first of two films at the festival which stars Teruyuki Kagawa and both are dark comedies… but I’m getting ahead of myself here. This one involves a couple who scam lonely women out of money through conning them into marriage. The principal cast are lead by Takako Matsu (9 Souls, Confessions, April Story), Sadao Abe (Paikaji Nankai Sakusen, After Life), Sawa Suzuki (Loft), Tae Kimura (My House, Kaidan, Starfish Hotel, Infection), and Tamae Ando (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Phone Call to the Bar).

When Kanya (Abe) and Satoko (Matsu) celebrate the fifth anniversary of their restaurant they had no idea it would end with the place burning down. This disaster forces Satoko to take on a job at a noodle shop while Kanya gets depressed and does what most movie men do in such a situation: drink and gamble. Then, one night, he returns home with cash and claims he got it by spending time with a lonely woman.  Satoko is initially angry but then realises the full potential of the scame and so the two embark on a series of sham relationships to get money together to re-open their restaurant. Surely it wont go that smoothly?

  Continue reading “Japanese Films at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival”

Kyousogiga Is Back Online – Release Dates

As I reported on Anime UK News last week, Kyousogiga is back online and the official website has announced the release schedule for the five episodes which will be streamed on Niconico, YouTube and the Bandai Channel. All I can say to the news is…

Kyousogiga Welcome Back Image

The first episode is already online and here it is:

The rest of the series will be released on the following dates:
Episode 2: 27th October
Episode 3: 10th November
Episode 4: 08th December
Episode 5: 22nd December


The original story took place in an alternate version of Kyoto where humans and spirits co-exist and a young girl named Koto from our world finds herself wandering into the alternate world where she met a mysterious monk, was chased by tech-obsessed girls and uncovered a mysterious plot in a brash and bizarre one-shot tale that has spawned this new series.

Koto was voiced by Rie Kugimiya (Happy in Fairy Tale) and she had support from Aya Hisakawa (Yoriko Yasaka in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san), Chiwa Saito (Aika in Aria the Natural) and Kenichi Suzumura (Atori in Noein). The latest instalment of Kyousogiga will see the gang joined by Akira Ishida (Judeau in Berserk). The director for the first installment was Rie Matsumoto who worked on Marie & Gali.

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